Sunshine helps Urchfont Scarecrow Festival break all records

This Is Wiltshire: Tali, Issy and Bethan enjoy Urchfont Scarecrow Festival. (PM1227) Picture by Paul Morris Tali, Issy and Bethan enjoy Urchfont Scarecrow Festival. (PM1227) Picture by Paul Morris

Three days of glorious weather assured that Urchfont Scarecrow Festival, the oldest in the county, broke all records over the bank holiday weekend.

Last year an estimated 15,000 people descended on the village over the three-day event and this year it is expected that will have been easily exceeded.

The car parks on fields at Knights Leaze Farm and nearby Crookwood Farm were fuller than they ever have been before, and the barbecue, beer tent and tea tent all did a roaring trade.

But it was the 54 scarecrows spread throughout the pretty village that people had come to see and they did not disappoint either.

With the theme of Myths and Legends, King Midas, Atlas, St George and the Dragon, Gremlins, Medusa and The Cerne Abbas Giant were easy enough to identify. But some were not that simple and it took a bit of puzzling to work out the cryptic clues.

There were other attractions to enjoy as well, such as the art exhibition in the village hall and the flower festival in St Michael’s Church.

At the end of it all, committee chairman Rob Pendry emailed his thanks to the dozens of volunteers who had marshalled the traffic and manned the catering stalls.

He also took time to tell the Gazette how grateful he and his committee were to all those who helped out.

Mr Pendry said: “The Urchfont Scarecrow Festival is an entirely community-run event. We do not have any commercial stalls or outside caterers.

“Our parking is always free and we try to keep our prices reasonable and keep the event exceptional value for families. This is our village and our own village event, run entirely by us.

“The hospitality and good will that brings visitors back again and again stems from the fact that Urchfont is our home and we are proud of it. When you visit us, you are our guest.”

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The festival was originally set up to raise money for the village hall refurbishment but it has benefited dozens of local good causes since.

It is likely that this year’s event will have raised in excess of the £40,000 taken by last year’s festival.

At least half of that will be donated to local groups and charities and the rest ploughed back into organising next year’s scarecrows.

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